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No, we're not talking about the Ashes. This particular match took place 'down under' in a more literal sense. Down under a mountain, in a slate mine, in Lake District - a mountainous region in northwest England. Two village teams, Threlkeld and Caldbeck, were involved in the game, widely believed to be the first underground cricket match.
Honister Slate Mine hosted the game, a fundraiser, amid a network of underground tunnels inside the mountain Fleetwith Pike. And if everyone on hand had to wear hard hats it was because of the 2000ft of rock and slate above their heads, not because a flurry of sixes were expected - there were no designated boundaries in the match and the batsmen had to run all their runs, resulting in a middling target of 28 from six overs for Caldbeck to chase. The team made light work of it, winning with 10 balls to spare.
The cricket team that shoulders a billion hopes? No, we're not talking about India, but cricket's new converts - the Vatican. With ecclesiastical records numbering members of the Catholic church at around 1.2 billion worldwide, the ICC, in their bid to expand the game, would sure welcome the news of the Vatican being interested in cricket.
And that's what it seems to be, with the Pontifical Council for Culture announcing plans to form cricket teams - one for men, made up of priests from around the world, and a women's XI comprising nuns. Australia's ambassador to the Vatican, John McCarthy, a former SCG Trust member, is helping to put the teams together, and hopes to organise a match against a Church of England XI.
Cricket, McCarthy said, was already popular in Rome, with priests and religious arriving there from around the world, and the Vatican's teams would draw on talent from everywhere cricket is played. "Internationally one would have a team representing the Vatican drawn from India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Australia, England, New Zealand, South Africa and the West Indies," McCarthy told Vatican Radio. "We are looking for Sri Lankan, Indian or Pakistani sisters who have played cricket and if they are found, they certainly will be invited to join the [women's] cricket team."
The next time he gets a wicket or finds himself on a winning team, Dwayne Bravo could well break into the same dance moves that he's been busy learning on movie sets these days. The West Indies allrounder, who plays for Chennai Super Kings, will be appearing in a promotional song for the Tamil film Ulla.
On Monday, he tweeted pictures of himself getting makeup touch-ups and posing in his costume, looking the part of "Chennai's newest film star", as he calls himself.
According to Rajan Madhav, the film's director, Bravo agreed as soon as he was offered the chance to shake a leg under the arclights. "Our producer approached him through a common friend. He is known for his freestyle dancing and we want to capitalise on it. Show him the way the audiences would love to see him on screen," Madhav told IANS.
Now there's an off-the-field PR opportunity the IPL franchises never dreamed of.
Lights, camera, action time! Chennai's newest film star ;-) pic.twitter.com/jxkBmhoqUJ— Dwayne Bravo (@Newbigdog) October 7, 2013
Eric Ravilious' vision of cricketers in top hats has featured in 76 editions of the Wisden Almanack, but very little has surfaced about the man himself. Rupert Bates, in Wisden India, charts Ravilious' history from his less-than-attentive stints on the cricket field to possible sources of inspiration for the iconic engraving.
He said the game went on "a bit too long for my liking and I began to get a little absent-minded in the deep field after tea". He made one not out in defeat, and bowled a few overs. "It all felt like being back at school, especially the trestle tea with slabs of bread and butter, and that wicked-looking cheap cake." He went on to record the comment of the Double Crown captain Francis Meynell that his bowling was "of erratic length, but promising, and that I should have been put on before. Think of the honour and glory there."
Guy Whittall, the former Zimbabwe allrounder, put up an uninvited guest for a night earlier this week. The house guest followed the rules of etiquette too, remaining quiet, not putting the family out, not even snapping at the feet dangling invitingly in front of its nose ... A well-behaved, eight-foot, 165kg Nile crocodile, it was, which spent the night inches away from Whittall at the Humani Ranch, the Whittall's game reserve in southeastern Zimbabwe.
The crocodile had made its way into Whittall's house from a nearby river and, presumably, spent the night under his bed. It was only discovered by a housemaid in the morning, who understandably screamed bloody murder as Whittall breakfasted in the kitchen. "The really disconcerting thing about the whole episode is the fact that I was sitting on the edge of the bed that morning, bare foot and just centimetres away from the croc," Whittall said later. "It came from the Turgwe River, which is a couple of kilometres from the house. They often wander about the bush, especially when it's cold and raining. I think he liked it under the bed because it was warm."
Whittall called in his co-workers at the reserve and the croc, after a bit of wrestling, was returned unharmed to the wild.
The Guardian recently published a series of photos based on the works of Prefab77, a Newcastle-based collective of artists, who have laser-etched vintage cricket bats with various designs, to represent themes inherent among English cricket fans.
Assam Cricket Association secretary Bikash Baruah has discovered just how difficult it is to step into former India captain Sourav Ganguly's shoes. Baruah had reportedly distributed a picture of himself sharing a dais with Bollywood stars Shah Rukh Khan and Deepika Padukone. Newspapers in Guwahati had run the picture with a caption that quoted Baruah as saying he had asked the actors to set up an IPL team to represent India's northeast.
Upon further investigation, though, it was revealed that Baruah had doctored the picture. The original had featured Ganguly with the two actors, and Baruah had had his face superimposed on Ganguly's. For his canniness - or that of his Photoshop expert - all Baruah ended up with was an FIR, filed against him by India's Freelance Journalists' Association.
At the end of it all, 22-year-old Alby Shale simply collapsed out of exhaustion. He had batted non-stop for 26 hours at The Oval to break a batting world record, and even had the British prime minister David Cameron line up to bowl at him.
Shale, who broke the previous record of 25 hours held by Australian batsman Jade Child, was raising awareness and funds for the Rwanda Cricket Stadium Foundation, which is planning to build a cricket ground in Kigali, Rwanda.
The existing cricket field in Kigali had been the site of a massacre in 1994 and remains were found when the tall grass was mowed to create a pitch in 2002. The idea to raise funds for the cause came from Shale's father, Christopher, who died in July 2011.
An exhausted Shale said: "We've seen first-hand what cricket can bring to a country and we decided. He [his father] said to me there, 'Listen, we need to build a new cricket pitch for Rwanda.'"
One Ricky Ponting might just have retired, but another is only beginning his Australian journey. Last year, a couple named Udaya and Radha fled Sri Lanka on a boat bound for Indonesia and in October they arrived on Christmas Island with 186 more asylum seekers.
Radha was heavily pregnant at the time and gave birth to a baby boy once the couple was in South Australia, waiting on their asylum claim. As cricket fans, the given names they chose for their Australian-born boy were "Ricky Ponting".
"We would love to work here and bring up Ricky," Udaya said. "I love cricket in Sri Lanka and I watch it here."
Young Ricky is now six months old and is living in the Adelaide suburb of Glenalta while the family awaits their refugee status being approved by the government.
Sreesanth is currently in the headlines for all the wrong reasons - his shopping list, romantic gestures and dance moves - but People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) have zeroed in on an idea they think could bring him some goodwill.
"Star in a PETA ad promoting a different kind of 'fixing' - sterilising dogs and cats. No one would call you 'out' about that," said a statement from the organisation, who want Sreesanth - who was PETA's Sexiest Vegetarian Alive in 2009 - and the other cricketers, Ajit Chandila and Ankeet Chavan, to participate in a campaign against "unchecked breeding".
All three players are currently back in police custody, until May 26, after a Delhi court remanded them without bail on Tuesday. So they might just be a while answering.
Sachin Tendulkar has the honour of having a wax model of himself on display at Madame Tussauds in London. It doesn't need telling that his contributions to cricket have elevated him to 'godlike' status, not only in India, but across the world. So it is not very often that a goof up regarding him is made. Such was the case though, when his second wax likeness - this one at the SCG in Sydney - was unveiled by the iconic wax museum; the jersey that the figure sported was India's kit from the 2012 World T20, a tournament Tendulkar wasn't part of, Mid-Day reported. It has been almost seven years since Tendulkar suited up for a T20 international, his only such game being India's maiden T20I, against South Africa in December 2006. Madame Tussauds has admitted to the rather embarrassing gaff and will change the figure's kit to reflect Tendulkar's crowning glory with a 2011 World Cup India jersey.
Sachin Tendulkar has been on TV screens around the world for over two decades but he's now set to make his debut in animated form - as part of a new series called 'Master Blasters.' Tendulkar will travel the world in his "spaceship cum stadium", playing cricket matches with and against some of the best cricketing talent on offer. He even has his own arch rival, Peter, who looks to humiliate the hero at every turn.
In the series, Tendulkar is appointed by the Programme for International Training of Cricket Heroes (PITCH) to run a training camp for the finest young cricketers around the world. Tendulkar will feature along with an assortment of twelve kids, with the series promising elements of comedy, life coaching, and of course, cricket. Tendulkar says he was a Superman fan in his youth; here's his chance to live yet another dream.
Most of you have probably heard several jokes about 'Sir' Ravindra Jadeja, in the Chuck Norris/Rajnikanth template, floating around. How about his one? "Sir Jadeja once wanted to make a silt mountain to play as a kid, now we all call it Mt Everest." That one's courtesy Jadeja's India and Chennai Super Kings' captain, MS Dhoni.
Jadeja had to put up with some serious ribbing from Dhoni and his Super Kings' team-mates on Tuesday, prior to their evening practice session in Mohali. Dhoni, Suresh Raina, R Ashwin, and even franchise official Gurunath Meiyappan, all got into the act, tweeting joke after joke about "Sir Jadeja". Among other things, Jadeja was credited with inventing something new every time he made an error, making the road move whenever he sat in his jeep with the intention of going for a drive, and making the ball come to him instead of running to claim a catch.
Jadeja's response? He tweeted Dhoni and Raina confirming he had no intention of being the next Rajnikanth, and went on to pose for photos in the team bus with Raina.
God realised RAJNI sir is getting old so he created sir ravindra jadeja— Mahendra Singh Dhoni (@msdhoni) April 9, 2013
Sirr Jaddduuu Off to training lol twitter.com/ImRaina/status…— Suresh Raina (@ImRaina) April 9, 2013
Pakistan cricketer Rana Naveed can be a big hitter when needed - and now he's shown he can be a fast bat too. He faced 45 balls in one minute at an event in Lahore on Wednesday, taking him into the Guinness Book of World Records for the most number of deliveries faced in a minute after easily overhauling Andrew Flintoff's record of 19.
Of the 50 bowlers who lined up to have a bowl at Naveed at the Lahore City Cricket Association Ground, only 48 managed to hit the deck. Naveed missed three of those balls. Incidentally, he would have faced the remaining two bowlers had the eager crowd not run on to the pitch to celebrate the record.